The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures meeting finished up last night. This is my fourth meeting. I've previously attended the meetings in Palau, Saipan, and Hawaii.
On one of the days we hosted an event on tuna and shark conservation at a bar by the water. Sitting in the Majuro lagoon were about a dozen purse seiner and transhipment boats. It was a great location for the topic we were discussing. One of the presenters pointed out that at any one time, as much as $10 million worth of tuna is sitting in the lagoon.
This is the Pacific, man, so things were informal. We had some chairs and tables set up, but we ended up having the talks right along the water.
I am alumni of an organization called Micronesians in Island Conservation. Once a year the members get together to discuss regional issues, and to learn from our each other about how they deal with the similar issues we were dealing with back home. I learned more from those retreats than I did in college.
APIL has a very similar feel, and although I am not a lawmaker, I can see how important this annual meeting and organization is to all of Micronesia. The things the members learn from each other are invaluable to their citizens back home.
And APIL has been very gracious to allow me and other representatives of my employer to work with them on important environmental issues. And everyone is just so amazing, on top of that! This is Marshall Islands Nitijela Speaker Donald Capelle.
APIL always hosts a friendship softball game after one of the day's meetings. Do you recognize the catcher in this photo? The CNMI contingent was split this year, so I won't say which team won.
It's not about winning, though; it's about how you played the game. But no hard feelings, right Joe? See, we're still friends.
Senator Kenneth Kedi from the Marshall Islands is the APIL president-elect. He's a big champion of the world's largest shark sanctuary.
I never noticed on my previous trips, but it would appear that Rita Elementary School is home of the shark. I took my picture with the sign, and some of the locals thought that was hilarious. This guy came over and took his photo with me.
Although most of these photos are of me, I did take many others. They are posted to Facebook.